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Thursday, 19 September 2002
Page: 6814


Mr KATTER (12:51 PM) —I will be very brief, with time pressing. P.J. O'Rourke, the famous American humorist, in a very humorous manner referred to the `safety Nazis'. They have been at work in the Transport Safety Investigation Bill 2002—there is no doubt about that. Proposed subsection 26(2) provides for two years imprisonment for copying a bill! This is really extraordinary stuff. Two years in jail—in a steel cage, like an animal—for making a copy of a bill! There is another provision—it is probably less provocative—which allows for the search of any vehicle without a search warrant. Even in the case of murder, it is difficult to get the right to invade a person's privacy. Very sadly, for a lot of people in Australia today, their motor vehicle is their home. We have all run into those sorts of situations. A number of aspects of the bill are deeply disturbing. In my 10 or 12 years—whatever it was—on the back bench in the state house in Queensland, not on one single occasion did we allow through a provision such as proposed subsection 26(2). We were supposed to be a bit of a right-wing, redneck government in Queensland, yet for 12 years not one single clause of that nature got through that parliament. I do not have time to go into the details of that.

When travelling, I would do $30,000 worth of charter work a year, at $200 an hour. In an hour, you can do 200 or 300 kilometres, so I do very many millions of kilometres a year in light aircraft—more than anyone else in this place. Four of the six aircraft that I used regularly over a two-year period went down, with everyone on board being killed, and they were all people that I knew. So I am probably more conscious of light aircraft safety and far more at risk than anyone else in this place.

I am absolutely appalled at two of the provisions in the bill. One is the right to search without a search warrant. Without any clause in the criminal codes in each of the states, they do have a right to search, but there is an onus upon the person exercising that right to have a reasonable belief that a very serious crime—a murder—is about to be committed. Yet in this draft, it is after the event; what has happened has happened. In most cases where this body goes in, it is not authorised to go in until afterwards. Enormously unfettered powers are allowed. I strongly back up my Independent colleague in expressing very grave reservations about a couple of clauses in this bill. The rest of the bill seems reasonable in its content.

I conclude by referring to the famous raconteur and thinker, Malcolm Muggeridge, who was the editor of Punch for about 20 years. Malcolm Muggeridge said that the giant armadillo, with each successive wave of evolution, covered itself in more and more protective armour plate until eventually it became impervious to attack from any other creature on earth. However, it was so heavy it could not forage for food and it rapidly became extinct. That is the sort of phenomenon that we are seeing here today.